I have been a customer with Bidz for a few years and have had both positive and negative experiences. I will be fair and balanced with my report. First the good: you can win some great deals at Bidz. First, you need to be familiar with the jewelry gram weight, cm size, etc., as well as how much the item you are bidding on is typically sold for (don't pay any attention to the retail listed which anyone knows is grossly inflated). So, do your homework first and don't bid on an item if you haven't a clue about it. Do a lot of window shopping and price comparisons. Print out a few sample Bidz bids and get a jeweler's opinion.
Now for the bad: the shipping costs and handling fees are completely unrealistic. My guess is their inflated s&h offsets their overhead (i.e. employee salaries, energy costs, etc.). They have a profit margin to maintain and investors to satisify. But, the bottom line is you don't see shipping and handling costs this HIGH anywhere else. And trust me, I do a lot of on-line shopping. So, Bidz should reevaluate (to say the least) their shipping & handling costs. People want a good deal and they don't want their experience soured by exorbitant s&h charges.
In addition, I have received damaged merchandise (which I returned for a full refund) as well as rings that were a lower quality of gold (from CHINA - go figure). All of my Bidz items have been tested. I go to many gem & jewelry shows and am involved in jewelry making. I figure quite a bit of the 10KT is closer to 9K and the 14K (at times) is boarder-line. Yes, you can have any karat of gold up to 24K. The lowest US standard is 10K, but lower gold content is available and sold, particularly in CHINA. And yes, all gold will slightly tarnish over time. It gets a patina from skin oils, etc. You need to clean it.
I have received a fair deal on most of my purchases from Bidz, but some of the stones that were auctioned as genuine were most definietly CZ's or synthetic. I had the jewelry inspected by several of my jeweler friends. I decided to replace the "Bidz" stones with genuine stones I had purchased from a gem show. This was my choice and I could have returned the items. Bidz should have a certified jeweler inspect all merchandise before it is auctioned to ensure that they are not misrepresenting their merchandise.
About shill bidding...I have been suspicious of this type of activity more than a few times. If someone files a report with the BBB and has a print-screen of the item (with the suspected shill bidders name), Bidz would have to prove that they actually sold that merchandise. In fact, Bidz would have to prove that their bidders are indeed real customers with real accounts. Hey, you have to open an account with them before you bid. ANyway, Auditors have a way of uncovering a lot of things. Shill bidding would destroy an auction company. It would be a very foolish thing to do.